This Is Not My Home

It’s been a while since blogging. The last post was in 2013. . .not a very good blogger I will admit. But to be honest, I believe that it’s time to pick it back up.

Just to update you, Darin and I moved to Savannah, Georgia in 2013 and believe me when I tell you, it has been a ride. New residence, new jobs, new church and all not without its own craziness.

At times we feel like Abraham “a foreigner passing through”. Now I have to blame my parents for this. You see they had the gull to raise me in a Bible believing, church doors open we are there, walk the walk talk the talk family. They ingrained in me the importance of solid biblical teaching and remaining faithful. So when hardships come, I fix my eyes on the price , I run the race with confidence that God will deliver and be glorified.

My goal is three-fold:

  1. To be an encouragement to those going through the same challenges
  2. To get some advice from others who have walked through the valley
  3. To learn together, using the Word of God, to overcome

Lesson #1: Heaven is Home

Hebrews 13:14 “For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”

The weekend we moved to Savannah, the search began. We needed to find a body of believers and get to work. We attended every church in the area with every style of worship you could imagine. Big congregations, tiny congregations, friendly congregations, not so friendly congregations. You name it we witnessed it. Most of the preaching styles were  “self-help” and “God loves you just the way you are”. There was on accountability, no repentance, no faithfulness being taught. Needless to say we were quite discouraged. Eventually our search came to an end due to the frustration of looking. The  motto of this congregation, “A Church You Can All Home”. To be honest this slogan bothered me, but I chose to look past the implication and ignore that I know is not true.  Home is not the world and is definitely not the church. It seems that our focus is on feeling comfortable. Let’s face it when I’m at home I do whatever we want.  I can clean or not clean, can wear pajamas all day, eat whatever and whenever.  I fear that most of our churches are like that today. We want people to feel “at home”. We are afraid to offend, correct or discipline. The sad result of this is that we are not equipping people to break the chains of sin. We are not being forthright with them, teaching the importance of repentance. We have created congregations full of sinners comfortable in their sin, instead of a congregation full of sinners with circumcised hearts.  If we look to heaven as our permanent dwelling place, then we will strive to overcome sin instead of being indifferent to it.

Melinda

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The Best of 2013

Looking back of 2013, I’d like to share some of my most favorite memories:
#5 ~ June 29th the day I closed my practice. I remember my dad coming to help me pick up the last few things, looking around I saw every patient that walked in and out, every Christmas Open House, every obstacle and success. When I got home I realized that I left something there. It was a sign that read “Dance like no one is watching, Sing like no one is listening, and live each day like it’s your last”.  I can honestly say that I lived the American dream and on my bucket list. . .I can scratch off “Start a business”.
 
#4 ~ “. . .and all God’s children signing glory, glory, hallelujah He reigns” (I love this song). Vacation Bible School at the Scottdale Church of Christ, I got to teach the kids the chorus of this song in sign language. I will never forget those hand, those tiny hand, praising God Almighty. I was humbled to be apart of their worship!
 
#3 ~ Lynda Sue Hertle. I knew Lynda Sue as a deaf woman who attended the church I grew up in. Once I returned to Pennsylvania and opened my practice, she looked me up and became a patient. One day she came in to get adjusted and she began to tell me of the difficulties she was having with a neighbor. I asked if I could pray with her and it was at that point our doctor-patient relationship turned into a friendship. The day we were packing up to move I received a call from Lynda Sue wanting to help. I never dreamed in a million years that Lynda Sue would be filling boxes and carrying them out to the truck. I imagine that we all have had God surprise us with someone who we never thought would be so close. But I have to say He blew me away.
 
#2 ~ Christmas! Being away from family, Christmas just wasn’t the same. I didn’t get any of my mom’s homemade Christmas cookies, or share in a meal at my brother’s house. I didn’t get to give my sister her gift on Christmas Eve a tradition that her, Darin and I shared. Didn’t get to challenge my dad at solitaire or the bubble game and as far as the Slatt’s solving all the world’s problems. . .I didn’t get to give my opinion. But one thing that I did get to do made this Christmas stand out above them all. Every Christmas Eve service we sit and watch, but not this year. Darin and I jumped in and planned our church’s service and I have to say that I was overwhelmed by God’s blessing.  No, no sitting around for the Donnelly’s this year, God put us to work and I can say it felt great!
 
#1 ~ Esther. I don’t know her last name I only know that she was “closer to 91 than 90” as she said with a smile on her face. Recently on a day off I found myself at Hilton Head sitting on the beach. To be honest I wasn’t really paying attention because I was talking with God about all of the distractions of life. I hear a voice ask if she could sit down beside me and there in front of me was an older women looking for a place to rest. Absolutely, I said and there began the most memorable conversation of 2013. She talked about her life with such confidence and pride, but it was a humble pride. I could listen to her talk all day and if truth be known I bet she would have talked all day.  When she asked what I did for a living, upon my answer her face lite up, she took hold of my hands and said “A Chiropractor!”  All of those distractions that I was talking to God about. . .disappeared. I believe God sent Esther that day to help make things clearer. He has a way of doing that!
 
I pray that 2014 is as good and even better than 2013. With all the challenges, uncertainties, and celebrations allow God to take hold of them all and work them for His glory! Thank you for stopping by “Warning Encouragement is Contagious”. I love you all so much!

Melinda

Hijacking Christmas

Let’s all be honest. . .as Christians we know that Christmas has nothing to do with the birth of Christ. We’re not even  sure when He was born. Some historians are convinced it may have been in the Spring, others disagree and propose some time in late December early January. When you take into consideration that the festival of trees, a pagan celebration, introduced the Christmas tree, the holiday of Christmas is one of the most confused holidays recognized on the calendar. Through the centuries, however, Christians have hijacked Christmas and made it into a time to celebrate the birth of the One who has saved us from sin and death.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for this hijacking, but I’m beginning to see Christians give this holiday back to the pagans. Santa Claus, Frosty, Rudolph are popping up in our local congregations all in the name of “fun” and “reaching out to the community”. It seems we have given up going OUT evangelizing and have instead invited fictional characters IN thinking that people will see how much fun we have and join our party. We have been commissioned to GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU. (Matthew 28:19-10) Not so sure that sitting in Santa’s lap in the fellowship hall will save children from sin.

We need the world to know that the birth of Jesus is not only a miraculous event but was the answer to the cry for salvation, and taking Christmas as that special day to celebrate is awesome! But let’s keep it at that. . . a celebration of Jesus!

Thanks for stopping by! Merry Christmas!

Melinda

Ten Commandments 1/Cross 0

Over the summer a battle was brewing over the posting of the Ten Commandments. It seems that someONE was offended and wanted the Ten Commandments removed from public school grounds. As a result, conservatives went crazy. How dare anyone question the Ten Commandments.  Before too long a campaign was started and Ten Commandments signs started popping up. One afternoon I asked my Dad if he wanted a Ten Commandments sign for this front yard and to my amazement and embarrassment he said no. But the conversation didn’t end there. My Dad then proceeded to say, I don’t live under the old covenant anymore, but under the blood of Christ.

That got me thinking. Just how much does the average person truly know about the Ten Commandments? Can the average person or even a devout christian recite the Ten Commandments? If we were smart we would have taken this perfect opportunity, in front of all the press, to say. “Go ahead, take down the Ten Commandments. It is not by them that we are saved.” Then shouting with joy share the Gospel message of Christ.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:15-17 “15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” The will of the Lord is very simple, as you are going, declare that we were once in sin, but, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and obedience to Him we have the right to become children of God (John 1:12). In this situation, I believe we missed the boat. We places the Ten Commandment on a pedal stool and completely forgot about the cross.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a good night!

Melinda

Pet Peeves

We all have those little pet peeves that just send us over the edge. If I were to list a few of mine they would include: drivers who do not know the art of merging into traffic, people who devalue my profession, sermons with more than one story and last but certainly not least, politicians. . .all of them!  Did you know that God has pet peeves as well? Yes, He does. However, His pet peeves are things that He hates. Pretty strong word. . .hate.

Proverbs 6:16-19 states: 6 There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.

Let’s put these seven things into perceptive:  haughty eyes, condescending, behaving in a superior or arrogant way; a lying tongue, one that doesn’t speak the truth; hands that shed innocent blood, murder, abortion; a heart that devises wicked plans, unethical business practices, elevating yourself at the cost of others; feet that run rapidly into evil, turning your back on the goodness of God, following worldly desires; a false witness who utters lies, defaming ones character, spreading false accusations, gossiping; and one who spreads strife among the brothers, causing divisions within His church, discouraging the fellowship of believers.

Breaking this scripture down really put the things God hates in a whole new light! Are you guilty of some of these abominations? As Christian we need to make sure our walk does not include the things God hates.  I Peter 1:14 states, As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Love in Christ,

Melinda

Ministers Aren’t As Crazy As We Think!

This summer was a whirlwind. Darin was interviewed in late April for a promotion in Savannah, Georgia.  He was offered the position a week later.  Within three weeks we had a yard sale,  found a house,  packed up our belongs and moved Darin to Georgia.  I stayed  with Darin for the first week and flew back to Pennsylvania.  Staying with my parents, I was able to close and pack up my practice,  fulfill my obligations to of teaching at Vacation Bible School and complete required continuing  education to get my license for Georgia.  Continuing Ed was finished June 4th by  June 19th my application for licensure I was approved.   Vacation Bible School was over June  21st, Darin drove to Pennsylvania and we were “home”   July 1st  and I started my new position July 2nd. Things “fell into place” so easily.  God  gave us the opportunity to make a dream come true. We have always talked about heading south of the Mason-Dixon line and here we were living in Savannah Georgia. He gave us employment and a great place to live.

Prior to moving to Georgia our minister, Dan Hughes, made a comment that was very interesting.  He said he knew  a church in Savannah was praying that God send them “workers”.  To him this move wasn’t about fulfilling a dream or better employment opportunities it was about serving God. Now, I must be honest and show my complete lack of servant’s heart. . .I thought Dan was just being a minister.  I mean let’s face it, ministers are crazy. This man of God thought  this perfectly orchestrated move was God sending us to a church to serve. . .silly preacher.

Darin and I did find a church and have started serving. It’s a little church  with a lot of heart.  Darin is teaching a young adult Sunday School class, and I am interpreting for a deaf man.  We are both singing and have initiated a 30 day Bible challenge  reading, constructed a website, and started a facebook page for our church. Needless to say, we’ve hit the ground running and enjoy working in this congregation. This past Sunday one of the members of our church hugged me and said   “God led you and Darin  to our church.”  She continued to say  she was glad we were serving there and we are just what they needed.  I stepped back and suddenly remembered what Preacher Dan said. God’s priority is to serve Him and He will lead you to the exact place to do just that. Darin and I know this is where we are to be and have no doubt that God charted the course in getting us here.

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Knowing

We have all gone through situations of uncertainty, wondering what’s going to happen. We try to prepare by planning and predicting what may or may not take place often  wishing at times we knew what to expect. But would we actually follow through if we knew?

Mediate for a minute  on Jesus. From the time of His birth to  His very last breath, Jesus knew that He was the atoning sacrifice and that His blood had to be shed. He knew exactly what was about to happen to Him that last week of His life. Every crack of the whip, every slap to the face, every thorn that was forces into His head, He knew. He knew the name of every Roman soldier who tortured and ridiculed Him. We knew which one of His followers would watch from a distance, deny His friendship, and stand next to the cross. He knew every detail, minute by minute, of His crucifixion, but yet, never disappeared into the clouds.

Although He knew all that He had to endure,  Jesus still stood in our place being put to death on the cross,  praying “Not My will but Yours be done”.  The love that He displayed was so amazing truly  “greater love has no man but this, that one  lay his life down for a friend.”

Melinda